Phenotyping – Generation of quantitative information for breeding and farming by phenotyping methods

Problem statement:

Optimizing plant production in biomass webs requires increasing both the potential and the realized biomass yield. This is achieved through breeding for plant varieties better adapted to present and future challenges to yield potential, and by improving production systems and farmer decisions in the actual production. The latter is, in turn, supported by better information on the physiological status of plants and on the production conditions (e.g. soil/ water availability) in specific production situations.


  1. identify best traits under practice conditions in the BiomassWeb crops in an initial phase in Africa in the different target cropping systems. Empirically well-performing varieties will be identified in close cooperation with the African partners.
  1. provide access to modern technologies in Germany to African researchers for plant

phenotyping to identify, quantify and understand the best-performance traits important  for breeding selection of the BiomassWeb crops and to develop a sound cooperation basis with the African partners for future cooperation.

Research questions:

Interaction explicitly with the African partners will identify demand and supply limitations and their links to relevant improvements of the respective production systems. Hence, the research will be demand driven and research question identified through interaction with our African partners.


The focus of the phenotyping activities will initially be on maize and bean as well as on cassava. Banana can be used if traits can be identified that can be handled in a size of the crop that is suitable in step in Germany. Here shoot/ leaf as well as root-related best-practice varieties will be identified. The WP 4.1 offers a wide portfolio of methods to analyze the selected varieties for shoot/ leaf as well as root properties. The experiments will include the relevant technologies and environment simulation procedures to obtain best selectivity between the varieties. Medium throughput systems for quantitative analysis of photosynthesis, transpiration, growth performance, root system structure and function will be used to identify the physiological basis of the different behavior of the varieties.

Countries of field research:

  • Ghana
  • Ethiopia

Involved partners:

  • University Hohenheim, Germany
  • IITA


  • Dr. Tobias Wojciechwoski
    Senior Researcher
    Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ)
    Institute of Bio- and Geosciences Plant Sciences (IBG-2)
  • Junior Researchers from Africa

Integration of this WP into the over-all BiomassWeb project and its other WPs:

The WP 4.1 is supporting plant breeding and plant production efforts in Ghana and Ethiopia in the moment. Additionally, the WP is closely cooperating with the WP 4.2 and WP 5.1 supporting cassava, maize and banana production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Other relevant information:

Fellowships for young plant scientists / plant breeders available – link;jsessionid=DC7695A4F332E338B0A9A43A2DDF8CB5?nn=1002318